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The mission of the Oceans Department is to Discover, Educate, and Innovate to support a Known, Sustainable, and Equitable Ocean. Faculty, postdocs, students and staff advance ocean research, education, and impact through interdisciplinary collaboration, technology development, use-inspired research, immersive education and training. To advance exploration and knowledge of our blue planet, and tackle the most pressing challenges in climate and sustainability, the Oceans Department brings together ocean science (including biological, physical, and social sciences), technology, and solutions into an academic unit focused on ocean discovery and solutions.

Students at Hopkins Marine Station exploring a tidepool

Degree programs


Undergraduate students interested in studying the ocean first need to apply to Stanford University. Once at Stanford, students can pursue their interest in ocean research through either the department of Biology or Earth Systems Science.

Stanford undergraduate admissions

Biology Earth Systems


Students interested in graduate degrees can explore degrees in either Earth System Science or Biology. They can also explore the work of faculty in the department and contact them directly to learn which degree program best suits their interests.

Earth System Science Biology

Oceans research at Stanford

Our faculty and students have many opportunities to engage in ocean research and work with our partners to improve the health of the oceans for the people who depend on them most. 

Hopkins Marine Station

Above the water, Hopkins Marine Station can be seen in the background. Underwater, divers move close to the surface

Many of our faculty work at Hopkins Marine Station where students and researchers come together to ask big questions, explore new ideas, and discover how and why things work.

Center for Ocean Solutions

We partner with the Center for Ocean Solutions, which catalyzes research, innovation and action to improve the health of the oceans for the people who depend on them most.